Abstract Details

Orch-OR in a Process/Event Ontology  Jesse Bettinger (Bellwether Institute, Santa Clara, CA )   P1

As a theory of consciousness combining mathematical physics, cosmology, subcellular biology, neuroscience, philosophy, Eastern wisdom, and biochemistry, Orch-OR proves admirable both in overall scope and in terms of the chief components within physics and cosmology it brings together. Upon closer examination, however, a few key aspects might preclude Orch-OR from fully manifesting, simply by design. The most ardent of these involves the growing proposition that, at the smallest scale, nature reveals a fundamentally emergent, relational, and creative (novel) dynamic at work. Among other things, like the emergence of gravity and string theory, this also implies a shift in space-time representation at the microscopic scale from a Riemannian- to a derived- metric. Indeed, a growing cadre of candidate resolutions to these issues and more (e.g., Wuthrich, 2010; Verlinde, 2010; Dijkgraaf, 2012; Walleczek, 2017; Smolin, 2018) provide indications of an emergent, process/event ontology at work. Here I will develop a proof-of-concept making the case for an alternative ontological development of Orch-OR. This processual-logic can be shown to underwrite both the experiential and physical dynamics furnishing consciousness and the natural world, including epistemology. This ("operational") logic has also been shown to provide a corporate integration and clarification of Whitehead's "actual entities," both in themselves, and as capable of a complimentary narration, lock-step in generative alignment with the physical/cosmological model of Verlinde's emergent gravity (see Bettinger, 2015). Applying this logic to Orch-OR brings to the forefront one teensy-tiny issue, though. As Hameroff and Penrose explain: "it follows [from our position] that gravity cannot be regarded as some kind of "emergent phenomenon", secondary to other physical effects, but is a "fundamental component" of physical reality? (1996). However, I contend it is precisely this update to an emergent platform that is required to reconcile the logic of quantum gravity and consciousness, and by extension, Orch-OR. With this, the story of microtubules remains largely the same, only re-housed in an expanded framework. Orch-OR can then be shown to represent the two "bookends" of a model. This requires us to decouple the impetus to directly link objective reduction to microtubules. Rather, a process logic shows how the process itself, which begins from a type of objective reduction, proceeds through a few generative phases and a dimensional transformation, before finally re-presenting in a cellular milieu as the self-organizing proto-constituents of a microtubule. By rethinking the ontological framework of Orch-OR from an operational approach, we discover it possible to provide an expanded narrative that integrates the core components of Orch-OR as two bookends in the larger context of a generative process cycle underwriting the personalized stream of consciousness. For this reason, Orch-OR can be seen as a sort of "deposit" on a model, like the first and last month's rent. This marks a move to bring Orch OR into a process narrative, much like Hameroff's earliest intuitions. In the (ad)venture of ideas, this stands to provide a genuine opportunity for further growth and deeper understanding in terms of the physical world and nature of consciousness.